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March 15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Biographies for Youth
This year’s gathering of the best biographies is, as always, an eclectic bunch, moving from the depths of the ocean to the air above Manhattan and from richly documented history to the mirror house of memory.
Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass: The Story behind an American Friendship. By Russell Freedman. 2012. illus. Clarion, $18.99 (9780547385624). Gr. 5–9.
With vivid detail, this twin biography tells of Douglass and Lincoln’s very different lives and the friendship they forged while the Civil War raged.
Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller. By Joseph Lambert. Illus. by the author. 2012. Disney/Hyperion, $17.99 (9781423113362). Gr. 6–12.
Lambert’s graphic-novel treatment of two remarkable women explores the childhood struggles of both and the breakthroughs they experienced together.
Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade. By Melissa Sweet. Illus. by the author. 2011. Houghton, $16.99 (9780547199450). K–Gr. 2.
The story of a boy who loved puppets and who would grow up to engineer the mighty floating spectacle of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes off with Sweet’s innovative collage technique.
Drawing from Memory. By Allen Say. Illus. by the author. 2011. Scholastic, $17.99 (9780545176866). Gr. 4–7.
Say explores his time as a young artist in this part picture-book autobiography, part graphic-novel memoir, and part ruminative scrapbook.
Structured around Young’s house in war-torn Shanghai, this portrait of an artist as a growing child integrates an adult’s understanding with a child’s experiences.
I. M. Pei: Architect of Time, Place, and Purpose. By Jill Rubalcaba. 2011. illus. Marshall Cavendish, $23.99 (9780761459736). Gr. 7–10.
A handsome introduction to Pei’s life and work, this book, like its subject’s buildings, features a spacious, functional, and inviting design.
It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw. By Don Tate. Illus. by R. Gregory Christie. 2012. Lee & Low, $17.95 (9781600602603). Gr. 2–4.
A lifetime of experience helped Traylor, born a slave, become a master of “outsider art” when he turned to painting at age 84. Rhythmic text and energetic artwork help re-create his singular vision.
Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! By Jonah Winter. Illus. by Kevin Hawkes. 2012. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $17.99 (9780545132916). Gr. 2–4.
This combustible picture book captures the disparate emotions Picasso engendered about his art and himself as he shook up the art world like no other.
Connecting Earle’s inquisitive childhood to her career as a renowned marine scientist, Nivola employs delicate artwork and lyrical text that incorporates Earle’s own poetic descriptions of the ocean.
Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different. By Karen Blumenthal. 2012. illus. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (9781250015570). Gr. 7–10.
The 2005 speech Jobs delivered to the Stanford graduating class gives this book an inviting hook, and Blumenthal uses interviews, smartly chosen source material, and an easygoing style to provide a full portrait of the tech guru.
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